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Brass Flakes in Bilge 2002 Response LX

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After a bare-footing set last week I removed the plug to allow a small amount of water to drain and noticed brass flakes littering the bilge. Last fall we had a bad prop strike that required a complete replacement of the underwater gear. There was a repair to the mounting area for the strut and during the re-assembly process we had to shim the strut slightly to complete the shaft alignment. I can see some damage to the the packing nut where the brass is being rubbed by the shaft. I am a bit mystified because the alignment checks to within .002 and the prop and shaft spin freely by hand. I have not had a chance to run the boat yet since discovering the flakes. Is it possible the packing nut is too tight causing it to heat/expand and then contact the shaft? Is it possible for the shaft to bow under power? I did a cursory check of the engine mounts and they appear to be torqued properly.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Pic of nut below:








Edited by BoatFlyRide
Pic add
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@BoatFlyRide:  Bummer, from the picture it looks like the nut is chipping off rather than wearing down but I may not be looking at the picture correctly, it also appears to be rubbing / wearing the shaft at the nut flange.  I would do a few things to verify correct alignment, 1. run a feeler gauge (actually for a circular gap a drill bit would work better) around the entire circumference to ensure even distance;  2. remove the coupler and verify not only the correct gap but ensure the centerlines are aligned, sounds counterintuitive that if off you would have a decent gap, but worth a check; 3. check the shaft bushings to verify they are not overly worn causing a shaft wobble; and 4. check for shaft bend by spinning shaft and either looking / using a dial indicator or calipers to check for straightness .  And yes to your question, check the drip rate and temperature after running to verify not getting too hot.  Shaft should not bow unless something is out of balance (prop / coupling).

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